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New Kensington bank robbery suspect nabbed

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By Chuck Biedka and Jodi Weigand
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 12:52 p.m.
 

A New Kensington man suspected of robbing the First Niagara Bank in the Parnassus section of the city on Monday was arrested shortly after noon Wednesday.

Anthony R. Scratchard, 40, was arraigned on a state robbery charge. He being held in the Westmoreland County jail on $250,000 bail. Federal bank robbery charges may also be filed.

Police say they spotted Scratchard driving across the Tarentum Bridge about noon Wednesday and pulled him over at Short Street in Tarentum. New Kensington police made the arrest with assistance from the U.S. marshals deputies and Tarentum officers.

He didn't resist arrest and wasn't armed, New Kensington police Chief Tom Klawinski said.

New Kensington Detective Sgt. Dino DiGiacobbe said Scratchard confessed to Monday's robbery, in which the robber got away with $1,000.

“I can't tell you much about the confession, but I did get him to confess,” DiGiacobbe said.

The stolen money hasn't been recovered, Klawinski said.

According to an affidavit filed in court to support the charge:

The bank robber walked in the bank about 3:45 p.m.

When Scratchard approached the bank teller he told her, “I'm having a really bad day” as he placed a handwritten note on the counter in front of her. The note stated “I DO HAVE A GUN 1,000 CASH NO GAMES.”

While the teller read the note, the robber told her “I do have a gun and you have 10 seconds.”

The shocked teller hesitated for a few seconds and the robber said, “Now you got 4.”

The robber never showed a gun, police said.

The teller gave the robber pre-counted $50 bills totaling $1,000. He took the money and jogged out of the front doors.

He bumped into two approaching customers, one of whom was able to provide police with a description of the suspect and his vehicle.

There were three employees inside at the time of the robbery, including the teller.

Police released the robber's photo to the Valley News Dispatch and other media outlets and Scratchard was identified as a suspect. Police say the teller picked him out of a photo array of eight men.

Scratchard has a long criminal history in the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Scratchard's convictions go back several decades and include drug, robbery, theft and other cases in Pittsburgh, Freeport, Harrison, Indiana Township, Brackenridge, Butler, Lower Burrell, New Kensington and elsewhere.

Records show he served time in county jails and two sentences in state prison.

He was often on probation when accused of a new crime, and he has often been referred to drug counseling.

Scratchard was on state probation Monday when he was accused of robbing the Parnassus bank.

Not all of his charges ended in jail time.

Robbery charges against Scratchard were once dismissed because a county judge ruled that he wasn't brought to trial in a timely manner, violating the state's speedy trial law.

Chuck Biedka and Jodi Weigand are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Biedka can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com. Weigand can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

 

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